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  1. ITV Report

Suspected drunk pilot removed from British Airways flight by police

The pilot is believed to have been on board a flight to Mauritius. Credit: PA

A British Airways pilot suspected of being drunk has been arrested on board an international flight just before it was ready to take off.

Sussex Police confirmed they were called to Gatwick Airport at 8.25pm on Thursday after a British Airways staff member was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol.

Officers boarded the plane, understood to be flight 2063 to Mauritius, and arrested a man "on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the prescribed limit".

The 49-year-old man, from Harmondsworth in west London, was taken in to custody but has not yet been charged.

The flight was delayed for several hours until another pilot was located. British Airways apologised for the incident.

"We're taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting police with their inquiries," a statement read.

"We are sorry for the delay to our customers. The aircraft remained at the gate until an alternative third pilot joined the flight crew.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority."